Engineering the uniform lying helical structure in chiral nematic liquid crystals: From morphology transition to dimension control Article uri icon


  • Chiral nematic liquid crystals (CLCs), with a unique helix structure, have attracted immense recognition over the last few decades owing to the abundant presence in natural phenomena and their diverse applications. However, the optical properties of CLC are usually hindered by the abundance of the so-called fingerprint domains. Up to now, studies have worked on controlling the in-plane orientation of the lying helix through surface rubbing and external stimuli. It remains challenging to achieve a steady and uniform lying helical structure. Here, by varying the surface anchoring strength, a uniform lying helical structure with long-range order is achieved as thermodynamically stable state without any external support. Poly (6-(4-methoxy-azobenzene-4’-oxy) hexyl methacrylate) (PMMAZO)—a liquid crystalline polymer—is deposited onto the silicon substrate to fine-tune the surface anchoring. By changing the grafting density of PMMAZO, both pitch size and morphology of the lying helical structure can be controlled. As the grafting density increases, the enhanced titled deformation of helical structure suppresses the pitch size of CLC at the same cell thickness; as the cell thickness increases, the morphology transition from long-range order stripes to small fingerprint domains is facilitated. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

publication date

  • 2021-01-01